By Peter Veness, AAP February 10, 2010, 7:07 pm From yahoo news
Websites were shut down, public servants received threatening phone calls and pornography was plastered across Kevin Rudd's home page in a major cyber protest against government plans to filter the internet.
What do you think of the filtering plan? Will it kill freedom of speech or protect children? Leave a comment below.
The government's Cyber Security Operations Centre discovered the attack was coming on February 5 but was unable to stop the parliament house website going offline and Prime Minister Rudd's site becoming home to "Operation Titstorm".
Internet protest group Anonymous, known for its regular attacks on Scientology websites, was behind the actions which were led by a so-called denial of service charge on www.aph.gov.au.
Just after 8am (AEDT) on Wednesday the parliament's website was hit by 7.5 million requests for communication per second, Parliamentary Services Secretary Alan Thompson told AAP.
"We had some advice in the lead-up to today there was going to be some cyber attack," Mr Thompson said.
Senior staff inside the department also had their emails spammed "in spectacular ways".
High-ranking public servants were telephoned as part of the attack.
"Aggressive but anonymous phone calls are being made to the offices of various parliament house executives," an internal parliamentary services email obtained by AAP said.
While the initial attack was stopped about 9am (AEDT) on Wednesday, further attacks continued throughout the day.
The proposed internet filter would crack down on pornography.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy's website also experienced a degraded service, a spokesman from the Attorney-General's Department said.
The spokesman said government agencies identified as potential targets by the group had been briefed on the threat, and were provided with strategies to help stop a hacking attempt.
At 1.30pm (AEDT) the spokesman said the Australian Parliament House website was back online, however, at 2.10pm (AEDT) it was again inaccessible.
Parliament House's fax system was also hit with spam.
Defence Minister John Faulkner said the Cyber Security Operations Centre remained on watch.
"As inquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further," Senator Faulkner's spokesman said.
From the foreign-owned Herald Sun
Hackers protesting against a proposed internet filter that targets pornography shut down Federal Government website
From: AAP February 10, 2010 2:13PM
COMPUTER hackers disabled several Australian government websites today in coordinated attacks protesting against a planned internet filter aimed at pornography.
The attacks, confirmed by the Attorney-General's Department, crippled Australia's parliamentary website for almost an hour, including the Communications Department, which is pushing a compulsory internet filter for pornography and offensive content.
The attacks were launched by hackers aligned with an anti-Church of Scientology group known as "Anonymous".
"No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be 'unwanted'," the group said in an email.
"The Australian government will learn that one does not mess with our porn."
Australia's centre-left government, which faces elections later this year, has promised an internet filter which would block a list of banned websites, including child abuse material and pornography.
Laws will be introduced to Parliament soon.
Australia's sex industry claims pornographic films were being rejected by censors because they starred small-breasted women who could be confused as minors and appear underaged.
A poll this week by McNair Ingenuity Research for ABC TV’s Hungry Beast found 80 per cent of the 1000 respondents backed the filter plan, which was strongly opposed by free speech groups.
The Communications Department said the hackers had not infiltrated government security, but had instead swamped government computer servers.
"Australian Parliament House website was unavailable this morning for approximately 50 minutes due to a distributed denial of service attack by individuals belonging to the "Anonymous" group," a spokeswoman said.
"It is now back online."